Empowering Educators: How CBE Programs Can Enable Faculty Get Back to Teaching

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

The competency-based education movement operates with the philosophy that teachers and faculty should have the time and tools they need to do what they do best – teach. This presentation will focus on how CBE programs enables teachers to create more meaningful teaching moments, and ultimately, student success.

Extended Abstract


There are misconceptions in academia about competency-based education programs, including the notion that it takes professors out of the equation, creating a learning environment that does not value the human element that is central to learning.

While innovation and technology are changing education in positive ways, the role of the teacher remains critical. In CBE, digital platforms serve as tool for faculty, rather than in place of faculty.

To start off the session, we will speak from our own experiences as students and educators to frame the conversation about supporting those groups in CBE programs.

  • Interactive element:  Ask the audience members after introduction about how they view the role of a teacher within a competency-based education program. Do they view it as a more active role than the traditional classroom-centric learning environment or more passive? Use input to guide rest of session.

Myth vs. Reality

While there are some mixed perspectives on a teacher’s role within CBE, the reality is that faculty are critical players in the success of a CBE program.

At this point in the presentation, we will discuss specific areas where faculty members are active drivers of CBE programs’ success, demonstrating using tech and platform features as we go:

  • Curriculum and competency design
  • Discussion board facilitation (focusing on how this process is different when students are progressing at their own pace through the content)
  • Assessments (how faculty support students before, during, and after assessments)
  • Interventions (how CBE helps faculty identify students who are struggling so they can engage directly)

Best Practices

Through examples from Flat World’s partnerships with universities (e.g., Brandman University, SUNY Empire, Laureate), we will discuss some concrete best practices for how to support students and faculty in CBE programs.

The End Goal

The ultimate objective of CBE is to support students and faculty as they learn and teach. The session will wrap up by engaging with the audience around ideas for how technology in CBE programs might be applied in the future to continue to support faculty and students in new, creative ways. Participants will be encouraged to think outside the box, imagining technologies that are still far from realization, to show how CBE can be an avenue for exploration and excitement, rather than something to be feared or resisted.